Tag Archives: author visit

How to be Flexible with Writing

6 Feb

“How do you have time to write?” is probably in the top three questions I get asked, and I always answer the same way: I don’t have time to write. I make time to write, and I remain flexible. What works one year may not work another year. But if we dive a little deeper, flexibility with your schedule is just one aspect. You should also learn how to be flexible with your writing. 

Flexibility with your writing means you can easily shift from one project to another, even when it wasn’t in the plans. 

Why is this important? 

Whether or not you are traditionally publishing or self-publishing, there’s going to be times where you’re in the middle of writing your urban fantasy and get notes back from your agent/editor/audiobook narrator that means you need to focus on your murder mystery right away. Why does this happen? Working on the next piece while subbing/publishing another one is common practice, and it’s inevitable these two pieces will collide on your calendar. 

Woman in yoga pose
A quick yoga break helps me, too!

Learning how to pivot from one WIP to another with ease will help you be more productive (and hopefully make the process less stressful and more fun). 

Just last year, I was writing an adult fantasy while getting beta reader notes back on my adult science fiction and waiting for the go-to signal from my agent to revise a totally different adult science fiction piece. I’m constantly hopping from one project to the other. It’s been difficult at times, but I’ve certainly learned some tricks that make it easier. 

Here’s some quick ways to help with flexibility:

– Pinterest mood board: quickly scrolling through my inspiration reminds me why I love it and what the tone is. 

– Playlist: Even if you don’t listen to music while writing, try to make a playlist that you associate with your WIP. Maybe you use it when you’re brainstorming. Maybe you only listen to it as you sit down at your computer. Even better if they have totally different sounds. Five minutes of sensory encouragement can make all the difference! 

– Speaking of sensory help: Candles! I am in love with candles. I always have a candle on my desk. It’s my splurge. I actually use two different ones right now depending on the book I’m writing (and they’re both almost out!) Weird way to see how much time I spend on a book, but it certainly helps set the mood. I have a campfire one for my book that takes place in autumn and a fresh one for the project that takes place in winter. It’s calming and energizing. 

 

– Make a plan before you pivot: This is probably the biggest tip that has helped me. Before I leap out of a project to tackle another one, I open a new document and summarize everything I’m thinking/feeling/planning for the next scene. In fact, it’s almost so detailed that I only need to fill in a couple lines of prose to write a whole new chapter. It helps me feel more comfortable when I come back (and confident right away)! 

Finally, setting boundaries and expectations is important!

Right now, I’m in a monsters in space revision (the fifth revision)! I finally hit a spot where I know things are going to get difficult, so I stopped. It was an excellent place to take a break, clear my head, and work on something else. I’m now jumping back into the first draft of my monster murder mystery academia book. Two totally different tones and settings. The genres aren’t even the same. But I know that I stopped right before my midpoint chapter, and I left myself a ton of notes so that jumping into that scene will be as easy as cutting butter. When I get back to my monsters in space revision, an outline of all the major changes I want to make is waiting for me. 

Granted, any day I could get notes back from someone and have to pivot again, but I am ready. I know where and how to make clean breaks, and I’m comfortable with returning whenever I can. 

I hope these tips help you, too!

~SAT

P.S. I’ve added a new page for book clubs & teachers! It includes fun questions to lead a book discussion about Minute Before Sunset, book 1 of the Timely Death trilogy. There’s also a fabulous lemon bar recipe, in honor of Mindy Welborn who constantly bakes these throughout the series. If you’d like me to stop by your book club or classroom virtually, be sure to use my contact page! I’m happy to if my schedule allows.

Inspirational Meet: Robert Rebein

15 Apr

Website Update: 3:00 p.m.: My Twitter hit 2,000 followers today 😀 Thank You! 

16 days until Minutes Before Sunset release! 

One of my favorite parts about attending the University of Kansas is when I get the opportunity to meet authors, poets, and other writers in general. The English department (or creative writing) program here is pretty great that way. There’s always someone speaking on campus, but, even more so, authors sometimes come directly into our classroom.

On Wednesday, April 10, that is exactly what happened in my NonFiction Writing I class.

Rebein hasn't lost his Midwest chivalry either. When I walked up and told him how much I appreciated his time, he gave me a signed copy of his book. Couldn't be happier towards this experience.

Rebein hasn’t lost his Midwest chivalry either. When I walked up and told him how much I appreciated his time, he gave me a signed copy of his book. Couldn’t be happier towards this experience.

Robert Rebein, author of “Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City,” came in, and, instead of taking the time marketing his own novel, guest taught us how he wrote nonfiction. He also answered our questions, elaborating on many aspects of writing we–as students–were wondering.

Specifically, other than truly enjoying his novel, he talked about how a writer should look at  nonfiction writing. He explained how he writes under the philosophy, “Everything is in service of theme.” As an example, he talked about an location-themed essay. He then said you write about that place, but you always stay under the umbrella of what the place means to you (rather than adding frivolous that may not have anything to do with why it means something.)

I really enjoyed his advice. He was very relatable, and he easily adapted to our class (he is a teacher) in the sense that many of our students generally write fiction, and he compared the elements of fiction and nonfiction. He even admitted that he learned fiction, decided to take elements from it, and then moved over to nonfiction. Like James Baldwin’s personal essay’s, Rebein creates a memoir-essay that responds to life honestly, using personal ethics to bring life to the life he lived so many years ago and the history of the Midwest that lived so many years before him.

Robert Rebein is a great author to check out. Just in the first few pages, I had one of my favorite quotes:

“If the Old West was about blood and money, the New West is about return” (6.)

I definitely recommend his work if you enjoy nonfiction. By clicking any of the links, you will be sent to his page for more information.

~SAT

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